Chanin Scott has found her game and is helping lifting the Jackets
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
There’s no way to explain how, why, and, most important, WHEN an athlete reaches complete understanding — that feeling of “getting it,” when the proverbial light goes on.
Obviously, there’s no way to speed up that process and turn on that light, but when it DOES come on, there’s no better feeling.
Junior guard Chanin Scott has been living that feeling the past three weeks and the Yellow Jackets are benefitting.
For her, the switch flipped on Jan. 31 at North Carolina, when she scored 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting, with four rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in Georgia Tech’s heartbreaking 91-90 loss. The points and field goals were the most Scott had scored in an ACC game, her most productive effort in 11 games (going back to her 14 points on 6-for-9 shooting Dec. 5 against Alabama State at McCamish Pavilion), and matched her total output from her previous five games.
“Something clicked. Something in my mentality just changed, where I just wanted to give it my all,” said the 6-0, Charlotte, N.C., native. “Not that I wasn’t before, but I just wasn’t quite there yet.”
It’s there now.
Head coach MaChelle Joseph noticed the turnaround that night in Chapel Hill and has enjoyed the level of play at which Scott has played since.
“Chanin has been huge for us since February. It started at the North Carolina game and it hasn’t stopped,” said Joseph. “She has been tremendous on both ends, rebounding, scoring. She’s playing so much harder and with a purpose. She’s been a difference-maker, no doubt.
“She’s been a starter for two years but she comes in off the bench and she does such a great job for us and gives us a lift,” Joseph continued. “She knows our system, offensively, defensively. She doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. We can really count on her coming in off the bench to give us a lift.”
Scott had lift-off in Georgia Tech’s Feb. 7 game against Pittsburgh at McCamish, going for eight points on 4-for-5 shooting, with two rebounds, both offensive boards, and four steals in 22 minutes as the Jackets won, 67-55. The win couldn’t have come at a more important time, as the Jackets had lost five of six, including an embarrassing 90-50 loss at No. 5 Notre Dame.
Starting with that Thursday night against the Panthers, Scott, who’d totaled eight field goals in her previous seven ACC games, has 12 field goals, four each in Georgia Tech’s past three games, all wins — over Pittsburgh, at Wake Forest and, most recently, Sunday, against Virginia Tech. As impressive is her efficiency, as she’s needed only 17 shots.
She credits her hitting the offensive glass.
“I would say No. 1 is offensive rebounds. That is a good way for me to score because usually they’re around the basket and if I go up, it’s a layup or it’s a foul and I’m shooting free throws,” said Scott, who’s also pulled down 15 rebounds in the past three games, eight of them off the offensive glass. “I just pushed myself a little bit harder, especially on the offensive end, trying to get more baskets for my team. That’s not necessarily my role but that’s something that makes me more aggressive as well as on the defensive end. I’ve been trying to challenge myself on both ends, offensive and defensive, and rebound. That’s REALLY what I like to do. That’s how I get my scores, too, rebounding.”
Scott never had to change her commitment to rebounding. She has three straight multi-ORB games and has at least two in six of the past seven games. She’s led or shared the lead on the offensive glass in the last two games.
“We definitely can’t win games without rebounding,” she said. “We have to be on the boards. We have to WIN the boards in our games to continue to compete. Coach Jo and all the coaches are really making that an emphasis in practice and in the games. They’re telling us, ‘Rebound!’ ‘Box out!’ ‘Push back!’ We demand it of each other on the court. Rebounding is a staple of our program.”
In Sunday’s 76-68 win over the Hokies, Scott just missed her first double-double of the year, going for 10 points, on 4-for-6 shooting (2-for-3 from the foul line) and grabbing nine boards (3 offensive, 6 defensive). She added four assists, her high in an ACC game this year, which matched her season-high and was one fewer than she’d dished out in her previous seven games.
The numbers aren’t deceiving, although sometimes her teammates don’t necessarily believe what they’re seeing from her.
“Chanin is the most athletic person that we have on the team and she’s showing it,” said fellow junior and team captain Francesca Pan. “She grabbed some rebounds that everybody’s looking at her like, ‘How did you get that?’ I remember a deflection in the middle of the court, I was like, ‘Wow! She flew.’ She’s really athletic and energetic and she’s helping us in a huge way right now. I’m proud of her.”
Scott is playing with pride and is determined to keep the Yellow Jackets on the roll they’re on heading into the season’s final four regular-season games then the ACC Tournament. First up is Clemson, Thursday night at McCamish (tip-off is at 7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra).
“We need to get our payback on Clemson. We let that game slip from us,” said Scott, referring to Tech’s 71-61 loss at Littlejohn Coliseum on Jan. 17. “We definitely have to play hard and win that game. We need these to get to the (NCAA) Tournament. We need these games because it helps build momentum, it helps build confidence. Every player has their role. Everybody’s been doing it these past games. That’s how we’ve been winning. So we need to keep it up and keep that momentum.”
She also is aware that she needs to keep up the leadership-by-example that she’s shown as the team heads down the stretch. That includes when the calendar eventually turns to March, crunch time.
“It’s definitely important because our team is very young,” she said. “It gives them confidence, too. Our young players are very talented, very skilled players. To have some people to lead them, maybe it’s not on the offensive end but just going hard, playing hard, rebounding, and playing defense, if you have people doing that it helps bring out the best in everyone.
“Our main goal is to get to the Tournament,” she added. “We know what it takes to get there. We’re all locking into the game plan and just taking it one game at a time, trying to get it all in a row.”